This is the opening address and keynote speech delivered by the Honourable Minister for Business Development, IBRAHIM MOHAMMED AWAL ON March 22, 2017 at the opening of the Enterprise Africa Summit Ghana 2017 organnised by the British Council.
I will like to thank the Country Director and management of the British Council for inviting us to the Enterprise Africa Summit which has brought together Development partners, policy makers, investors, academics and private sector players from Sub- Saharan Africa and the United Kingdom.
I am informed that the three-day Summit which is on the theme: 'Investing in Africa's Future' will explore and develop the role of Entrepreneurship in building sustainable and resilient economies.
Mr. Chairman, the Summit is very important as it falls in line with government's objective of building and developing young people with entrepreneurial mindset.
As we shift our focus from recipients of aid to trade and development, the role of entrepreneurship becomes even more crucial. It is important that the Youth are equipped with Business Development Skills, Governance and best practices to enable them be at the forefront of Ghana and Africa's quest for accelerated socio-economic development.
Mr. Chairman, over 70,000 students graduate from tertiary institutions in Ghana every year and less than 30% of this number are able to secure jobs in the public sector. Our private sector is also not expanding enough to absorb these graduates. The government has therefore introduced a number of initiatives to improve the country's business environment to enable the private sector operate efficiently and employ people.
This include; the abolishment of a number of taxes such as the 17 1/2 % VAT /NHIL on financial services, 17 1/2% tax on selected imported medicines that are not produced locally and the 5% tax on real estate sales.
Other policy initiatives are the infrastructure for poverty eradication project under which we have i village, 1 Darn and 1 District, 1 Factory, the establishment of Development Authorities that is Northern Development Authority (NDA), Middle Belt Development (MBD) and the Coastal Development Authority (CDA).
Mr. Chairman, it is in this vein that I entreat the private sector to take advantage of these initiatives by exploring the opportunities to expand and contribute to job creation and socio-economic development so as to improve livelihoods.
Mr. Chairman, one other policy initiative of government is the introduction of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan.
The plan aims at equipping young people particularly those in schools with entrepreneurial skills so that they grow up as job owners instead of job seekers. The plan will help breach the gap between academia and industry and unlock the creative potentials of the youth.
Under the National entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan, tens of thousands of young people would benefit from entrepreneurship training and set up their own businesses upon completion of school.
While we congratulate the British Council for organizing this Summit, I will like to urge the private sector to support government's initiatives at improving the country's business environment in order to attract local and foreign businesses into the country.
The Government will continue to create the necessary conditions for the private sector to thrive and become competitive. To you the participants, I advise you to discover new ideas, share, network and become the next generation African Business leaders.
On this note, I have the singular honour and pleasure to officially declare the First-ever Enterprise Africa Summit duly open and emphasize that "Ghana is opened for Business".
The 1st Enterprise Africa Summit, hosted in Liberia Road, Accra, Ghana saw the attendance of 558 delegates, 45 exhibitors and 92 speakers from 23 countries across Sub Saharan Africa and the UK. The British Council Summit was a groundbreaking gathering of governments, academia, policy-makers, development partners, civil society groups, investors, and entrepreneurs.
It has been noted that there is real potential for Africa to grow it's food industries so the following program was put on in the afternoon of Wednesday, 22nd March, 2017 from 2.30pm. The Food Forum formed part of the British Council's Enterprise Africa Summit together with programs on technology, creative art, fashion, music and education.
Branding African Food For A Global Market
- Panel* Discussion by Jessica Laditan, Founder and Creative Director - Pop Up Africa, Moderator by Priscilla Baffour. Melissa Mensah, Fred Apaloo, Jamila Abdulai, Jeffery Mouganie, Jay Gyebi
- Simultaneous Workshops on Food Photography and Branding
- Conversation with Dedo Azu a food entrepreneur, the topic of starting and running her food business in Accra, owner, Tea Baa
- Food Business Pitches-business pitches delivered by local food business start ups, pitching for corporate mentorship support, PR/Branding support &/or Social Media Digital Storytelling support Essence 13, West Africa Cooks Q and A Support
- Food Business Pitch Feedback and Awards Pop Up Africa
Workshop A: Creative Food Photography by Pop Up Africa. Talk by Naa Oyoo Quartey and Steve Ababio
Workshop B: Food Branding and Marketing by Pop Up Africa. Talk by Kwame Ofori, Wow Magazine
Priscilla Baffour is a diversity and talent consultant. Event host and panel moderator follow @Cilla4Talent
Melissa Mensah founder of AccraPremium US/GH, lawyer, educator, political commentator, linking Africa to Americas. See accrapremium.com
Fred Apaloo is a Ghanaian chef Villa Grace, boutique catering. West Africa, pop up dining and lifestyle follow @villagracegh
Jay Gyebi Eatery manager of Mukasechic, African restaurant in Accra, Ghana